Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Time to flick the switch at Parliament House

Paul Lister - Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ETU members working at Parliament House in Canberra along with other building maintenance workers are preparing to vote in a protected action ballot in order to take industrial action after negotiations with the Commonwealth Government stalled.

Parliament House building maintenance workers will join thousands of other Commonwealth public servants including Border Force, Immigration, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Tax Office and Defence in taking industrial action in an attempt to secure a fair agreement outcome.

 ETU Organiser Matt McCann said that the offer made by the Department of Parliamentary Services would result in a cut to take home pay of more than 17%.

“The department have put an offer on the table, which if accepted, would result in a reduction in the take home pay for ETU members.” Matt McCann said.

“Our members are joining a growing list of Commonwealth public servants taking industrial action as a result of the Liberal National Government continues their attack on hard working honest Australians.” Matt said.

“If this industrial action goes ahead we will not be able to guarantee that the lights of Parliament House will stay on which could potentially shut down our national legislature.

“Our members perform an important role at Parliament House ensuring that the building continues to operate 24 hours a day in some cases while providing a safe workplace for our nations decision makers and politicians.

“It’s time that the Turnbull Government deliver a fair outcome or risk working in the dark.” Finished Matt.

Read coverage of this issue in the Canberra Times.

Fuji Xerox EBA Update - 20 September

Paul Lister - Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dear Members,

On Monday 26th September we will be attending a Fair Work conciliation conference before Deputy President Bull at 2pm at the Fair Work Commission, William St Sydney. The conference was applied for by FXA and is supported by the ETU in accordance with the mass meeting that was held on Monday 29th August 2016.

The conference will seek assistance from President Bull on resolution of the outstanding matters of;

1. The inclusion of a Status Quo provision as part of the Dispute Settlement Process that maintains the working arrangements that were in place prior to a dispute until the dispute is resolved and 
2. An improved travelling time clause which recognizes the extensive time delays incurred by technicians when travelling across the FXA service area.

By nature this conciliation process is non-binding on both parties but often can have a positive effect on resolving outstanding issues.

We will be putting the case that these things are matters of great consequence for our members and to that end we intend to represent your interests with an optimistic view and open mind on the matters but in a forthright manner which argues the case as to why these measures are absolutely necessary.

If members are willing to attend the conference it is always a valuable experience for our membership and also adds value and transparency to the process to actually have real workers at the hearings - please contact me if you are interested.

Finally, if you are fortunate enough to have benefited from what your colleagues and their activism in the union have done for you over many years of agreement negotiations and representation and you are still not in the ETU, why not do the right thing ? Join in the collective effort to help you and your mates.

Please go to the website and join today. There is never a better time to get with the strength and join your union.

In Unity
Mark Buttigieg
markb@etunsw.asn.au / 0417 208 447

Fair Work Building Commission target apprentices and coerce workers to walk off building sites.

Paul Lister - Friday, September 16, 2016

Bizarrely, the Fair Work Building Commission (FWBC) is now playing an astonishing role on construction sites in NSW. The ETU has been made aware from concerned parents regarding apprentices who have been targeted by the FWBC.

Following a number of visits by ETU organisers, apprentices have chosen to join the ETU. These apprentices have raised a number of concerns including:

  1. Intimidation and bullying by employers
  2. Lack (sometimes none) of supervision
  3. Underpayment of wages
  4. Forced to work in unsafe areas
  5. Apprentices being employed by companies but not registered as apprentices
  6. Apprentices being summarily dismissed by employers
  7. Apprentices not being paid to attend TAFE
  8. Apprentices receiving electric shocks while working LIVE!
  9. Failure to notify Safework of serious and dangerous incidents (electric shocks)

In fact, the list goes on. The recent campaign by the ETU has found significant failings in NSW in regards to employer’s attitude and treatment of apprentice electricians. Unbelievably, the FWBC is not interested in pursuing any agenda to protect apprentice electricians. It would also appear that the National Electrical Contractors (NECA) who represent many of the dodgy bosses has called the FWBC to pursue ETU officials while ignoring the actions of their members who are engaged in illegal activity and putting young apprentices lives at risk.

The ETU has learned over the last few weeks that the FWBC has decided to visit sites where ETU construction officials have attended. The FWBC inspectors have then accessed the personal information of these apprentices (and other Electricians) without their knowledge or consent and using their phone numbers contacted them. Apprentices and their parents have informed the ETU that apprentices have been interrogated over the phone and in some cases approached on site.

The FWBC hasn't asked any questions about the wellbeing of the apprentices or advised of their rights to join the ETU. Unsurprisingly the FWBC has set out on a fishing expedition, accessing personal phone numbers to see if they have been forced to join the ETU. The fact is electrical apprentices have rushed to join the ETU to raise concerns, and find out about their rights.

Remarkably, the FWBC inspectors have also sought to encourage workers and apprentices to leave site (while they are still working) to meet in cafes, to have a "friendly chat".

"This is an outrageous abuse of power from the Fair Work Building Commission.” Said ETU organiser Stewart Edward.

“How can it be that, if union officials were to behave in this way that both the worker and the official would be found guilty of taking illegal industrial action and fined for such action." Stewart said.

Many Australians are still unaware of who the FWBC are, and alarmingly, have no idea that the last federal election was actually called by the Turnbull Government to give the FWBC even more power.

"The new powers, if passed by the Senate, will mean the Fair Work Building Commission will be replaced by the discredited Australian Building Construction Commission and all workers in construction including, electricians and apprentices, will not have any right to silence, and in fact, if they refuse to appear before the Australian Building Construction Commission they can be sent to jail for 6 months" Stewart Edward said.

Stewart's advice to electrical apprentices is join the ETU, find out your rights, get organised and remember, you do not have to speak to the Fair Work Building Commission. If you are contacted in any way seek advice from your Union, the ETU, prior to responding to the FWBC.

The FWBC should stop harassing apprentices and focus on the dodgy bosses and NECA who would have more credibility if they stopped defending the outreagous behaviour of their members.

 

Crane Hits Powerlines at Sydney Construction Site

Paul Lister - Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Electrical Trades Union was notified by a member of the public that a tower crane working on a Sydney construction site belonging to builder Brookfield Multiplex came into contact with 415v powerlines last Saturday.

The member of the public also notified SafeWork NSW of the incident which occurred at the Saint Patricks Green aged care construction site located on Chapel Street, Kogarah however SafeWork NSW failed to attend the site.

The eye witness told ETU Organiser Stewart Edward that the crane’s chains came into contact with the power lines which resulted in an explosion including arcing and a loud bang. Workers on the form deck were seen to jump and move away from the area when the incident occurred at approximately 8.15am.

Upon attending the site the ETU found that the powerlines in question did not have the necessary “tiger tail” insulation which would have made seeing the wires near impossible.

ETU Organiser Stewart Edward contacted Brookfield Multiplex management to raise concerns over notification of SafeWork NSW, danger of the powerlines and ongoing work at the site. It was the ETU’s view that work should cease until an inspector from SafeWork NSW attended the site. The ETU reached agreement with Brookfield Multiplex management to report back to workers about the incident on Monday morning.

ETU Organisers Fred Barbin and Anthony Stegic attended the site on Monday morning, spoke with workers and inspected paperwork relating to the breach but to their astonishment SafeWork NSW still had not attended the site.

Under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 notifiable incidents must be properly investigated by SafeWork as the states safety regulator. This is yet another example where the regulator has chosen not to attend and investigate a serious safety breach that could have resulted in injury or death to workers or a member of the public.

“It is totally unacceptable for SafeWork NSW to allow a builder to investigate their own serious incidents or dangerous incidents without the attendance and involvement of SafeWork NSW safety inspector.” Said the ETU’s Stewart Edward.

“WHS Laws allow for action to be taken in situations like this but SafeWork NSW continue to allow the industry to effectively self-regulate which in my view will someday result in a tragic outcome.

“To add further insult Safe Work NSW have reverted to sending out a pro-forma email indicating that they have received notification of a possible safety breach, that they will not be attending the site and that the builder can proceed to “disturb the scene”.” said Stewart.

“Serious questions need to be asked following this latest incident including details of the development application, safe work procedures around powerlines in close proximity to construction sites and why these high voltage powerlines were not insulated at the very least.” Stewart said.

Aristocrat Members: It’s time for You to Decide…

Paul Lister - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Following the ETU’s last notice outlining just how well Aristocrat are doing financially, largely as a result of a highly skilled and committed workforce including machine technicians, management are going to move ahead by circulating a draft agreement for employees to vote on.

Management have increased their offer following the ETU’s notice last week but it is now up to members to decide if this deal is good enough. The ETU recognises that the wage offer has increased from the original 2% but we will let members decide if the deal is good enough.

Below is an update on what management’s new offer/draft agreement is likely to include.

It’s up to Members to Decide.

The ETU Will respect the view of members. If you vote to accept this agreement the ETU will be party to the agreement and we will continue to represent you in the workplace by making sure any new agreement is enforced.

If members vote to reject the agreement, we will return to the negotiating table with your negotiating committee/delegates and seek to secure an improved offer.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of your delegates or ETU Organiser Ben Lister on 0400 264 007 / benl@etunsw.asn.au

FUJI XEROX AUSTRALIA ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT UPDATE

Paul Lister - Friday, August 26, 2016

On Friday 19th August ETU members conducted a 24hr stoppage and during that time a mass meeting was also held to discuss the progress of the EBA negotiations. At that meeting it was resolved that the outstanding issues of inclusion of status quo in the Dispute Settlement Clause and Travelling Time still needed resolving before an Agreement could be settled. In a bid to reach an outcome and recognize the company’s concerns with the current Dispute Settlement Clause clause being proposed by the ETU, it was decided that a compromise form of the status quo provision be put the company. The words proposed would more clearly restrict the circumstances under which status quo could be invoked. In terms of travelling time, members remained unhappy with the current FXA proposal based on the lack of recognition of time it takes to get to jobs which are inappropriately allocated too far away from technician’s homes.

Today the negotiating committee met with management and they rejected the compromise clause put regarding status quo which would have restricted the invoking of status quo only to circumstances where the company introduced change which had a major effect on a majority of employees. Fuji Xerox rejected the proposition citing examples such as if FXA wanted to make employees redundant or if the parent company dictated a new process or policy, then status quo would hold this up. On the issue of travelling time Fuji Xerox were unwilling to accept a compromise and maintained their most recent offer of 15 minute incremental start time concessions for every 25km travelled outside the district boundary.

Given the stalemate, the company stated that it wished to apply to the Fair Work Commission for assistance via conciliation and undertook to maintain the current offer in full, on the condition that all industrial action cease. The negotiating committee took the view that this process may be helpful but that we could not confirm our agreeance with this until we have consulted our members at a mass meeting.

To that end there will be a mass meeting held at 4pm on Monday 29th August at Rosehill Bowling Club to discuss the proposal. All members are expected to attend. This is a management approved meeting to discuss the above proposed way forward and all members are expected to attend.

If you are not in the ETU and you want to do the right thing and join in a collective effort to help yourself and your mates – CLICK HERE AND JOIN THE ETU TODAY ONLINE.

ETU Lift Delegates Discuss Industry Issues

Paul Lister - Monday, August 22, 2016

Last week the ETU bought together delegates from the lift industry to discuss issues effecting the sector. Delegates from all the major lift companies were present with ETU Organiser Steve Bankes also attending.

Some of the key industry issues raised included:

  • Single person / 2 person tasks.
  • Introduction of technology into the sector affecting employees including – GPS Tracking, Finger print (vein) entry to buildings and security of personal information.
  • Electrical licensing.
  • Apprentices, including – licensing, E-Profile sign off if only doing lift industry electrical work rather than general electrical work.
  • Asbestos in lift motor rooms.
  • Industry deaths in New Zealand.
  • Motion put forward to hold an annual industry wide mass meeting of all members
  • Training for Delegates, and
  • Support for the CUB workers in Victoria.

ETU Organiser Steve Bankes said that the meeting was productive and engaging with delegates driving discussion around issues that affect all ETU members in the sector regardless of who they work for.

 

 

ETU NSW throws financial support behind sacked CUB workers

Paul Lister - Friday, August 19, 2016

The NSW Branch of the ETU/CEP has donated $10,000 towards the fighting fund to support the 55 sacked CUB workers in Melbourne who are members of the ETU and the AMWU.

On top of this NSW construction industry members chipped in a further $2,000 out of their own pocket while an AMWU/ETU fundraiser last Wednesday night saw another $5,000 raised bringing the total to almost $20,000.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that the actions of CUB were un-Australian which is a far reach from a company that trades so heavily on what it is to be an Australian.

“As an act of solidarity these funds will be provided to help support the effected workers and assist their campaign for full re-instatement” said NSW Secretary Steve Butler.

“This is what being union is all about, standing united and supporting each other in times of need.”

“I have personally visited the picket line in Melbourne and I have meet these workers and understand what they are going through as a result of this bastard act from their employer.”

“I am proud of our membership in NSW for stepping up to the plate to support our brothers and sisters in Victoria during this dispute.” said Steve.

“I encourage all members, their families and friends to consider supporting other brands when next visiting the local bottle shop.” Steve said

Fuji Xerox workers down tools for 24

Paul Lister - Friday, August 19, 2016

ETU members at Fuji Xerox business machines downed tools today for a 24 hour period after the company refused to include fairness provisions in a new enterprise agreement.

Negotiations have been ongoing for some time with the company originally wanting to strip back wages and conditions to pre 1996 levels however through union power and negotiations Fuji Xerox has been unable to achieve this.

A number of fairness provisions remain outstanding which employees at Fuji Xerox want to see included in any new agreement, these include:

  1. The introduction of a clause which stops FXA implementing major change without resolving differences with employees that the changes may have a severe effect on.
  2. A modest increase in wages.
  3. Flexibility from the company on travelling time for employees being sent from one side of Sydney to the other that currently have unreal expectations placed on them.

ETU Organiser Mark Buttigieg said that Fuji Xerox workers were left with no option but to down tools for a period for 24 hours in an attempt to unlock the current stalemate over what are basic rights every worker should enjoy.

“It’s not as though we are demanding double digit pay increases or restrictive work practices” said Mark Buttigieg.

“The outstanding matters are basic rights that all workers should enjoy, it comes down to fairness and realistic expectations and we believe the company should come to the party on these matters” Mark said.

“Today’s action saw a great turnout from members at Fuji Xerox and shows that these highly skilled workers are prepared to stand by each other to secure a decent and fair outcome.”

“Following a stop work meeting held earlier today we are calling on management to return to the negotiating table and accept these fairness provisions.” said Mark.

Fuji Xerox Industrial Action

Paul Lister - Thursday, August 18, 2016

FXA members and supporters,

As you all know the negotiations with Fuji Xerox have been tough and protracted. Remember where this started – with Fuji wanting to strip away numerous conditions and pay which had been hard fought for over many years.

Let’s remember FXA’s starting position which would have taken the Agreement backwards to a pre-1996 position;

  • Slash redundancy payments down to a 52 week cap for new starters. Playing off new employees against existing.
  • Eliminating the car allowance option for new starters. Again playing off new employees against existing.
  • Slashing the car allowance for existing employees down to $12,893 and an increase in the excess km threshold before allowing claims. (Originally they proposed ending the car allowance).
  • A measly $1000 annual increase to the base.
  • No other allowance increases .
  • Introduction of satellite vehicle tracking.

Thanks to the resoluteness and collective effort of ETU members these things were taken off the table and we are now at a point where we are fighting tooth and nail just to get some sensible improvements in the Agreement;

  1. The introduction of a clause which stops FXA implementing major change without having resolved differences with a group of employees who the changes may have a severe effect on.
  2. A modest increase in wages.
  3. A little bit of flexibility from FXA on travelling time for employees being sent from one side of Sydney to the other and being expected to be there at 8:30am.

It’s not too much to ask a multinational company with over a billion dollar turnover in Australia that makes huge profits. All we want is for them to treat their employees with decency by recognising their employee role in that profit by having a fair and reasonable Agreement.

In accordance with the unanimously supported resolution of the last mass meeting held at Rosehill Bowling Club on Thursday 11th August there is a legally sanctioned 24hr stoppage;

Commencing: Midnight tonight Thursday 18 August 2400hrs

Ending: Midnight Friday 19th August 2359Hrs.

All members are expected  to not attend duties during this time. Note there is no requirement under the Fair Work Act to inform your employer of your intention to take protected industrial action.

A mass meeting will be held tomorrow Friday 19th August: 10am Rosehill Bowling Club (Corner Hassall St / James Ruse Drive Rosehill.

This is a critical point in the negotiations and it is absolutely critical that everyone attends so we can hear everyone’s views and feedback.

Non-attendance will be taken as supporting whatever decision the meeting takes tomorrow.


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